2005 NBA Draft Top 5s

Originally Published: December 3, 2004
By Chad Ford
Now that the college basketball season and international leagues are in full swing, it's time to do another comprehensive update of our Top 5 rankings by position.

After a record eight high school players went in the first round this year, there's a chance no prep reaches that level next year. Scouts are saying 2005 will be the worst high school class in recent history. The three preps with the best shot of making the jump this year are Louis Williams, Andray Blatche and Gerald Green. However, Green is the only guy scouts are really excited about at this point.

So what will be the theme of next year's draft? Call it the Revenge of the Euros. A stunning 28 international underclassmen pulled out of the 2004 draft, fearing the high school crop would push them out of the first round. That left a gaping hole in last year's draft but also brought a promise that this year's crop could look pretty good.

While there will be three dominant 18-year-olds looking for promises, the strength of next year's international class is with the 19- and 20-year-olds. Familiar names like Martynas Andriuskevicius, Kosta Perovic, Peja Samardziski, Johan Petro and Tiago Splitter likely will be in again next year. They'll be joined by new and highly-touted prospects like Nemanja Aleksandrov, Rudy Fernandez, Fran Vazquez and possibly Oleksiy Pecherov.

The college crop is pretty solid. There are a few top underclassmen prospects like Chris Paul (Wake Forest), Chris Taft (Pittsburgh), Marvin Williams (North Carolina), and Rudy Gay (UConn). But like this year, only a handful of the best prospects will be college seniors.

Chad Ford

ESPN Senior Writer